HOW TO COMPLAIN TO YOUR PARISH OR TOWN COUNCIL
The object of any complaints procedure is to put things right when they go wrong and ensure
that mistakes do not recur in the future.
What constitutes a complaint?
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about the parish
council’s action or lack of action or about the standard of a service delivered by the council.
The complaint may relate to an action taken or a service provided by the council itself or a person or
body acting on behalf of the council.
What is a complaints procedure?
The way the council manages any report of a problem with the service you are getting or trying to get
from the council, or a problem with things that the council does or doesn’t do , is via a complaints
What can be expected?
The aims of a complaints procedure are to ensure the process is:
o well documented and publicised
o easy to understand and use
o helpful and receptive, not adversarial
o objective and based on clear procedures
o capable of putting things right where necessary
o sensitive to the needs and circumstances of the complainant
o adequately resourced and fully supported by the elected parish councillors & officers
o regularly analysed to spot patterns of complaint and lessons for service improvement
How to complain
o Verbal complaint – these should be to the Clerk of the council and can be either as a simple
phone call or in person. This type of complaint would be to report some minor matter or need for
repair to property owned or operated by the council such as a failed street light. A verbal
complaint will normally be dealt with directly by the Clerk without any need for a response. You
may make a complaint to a councillor but under the legislation governing parish councils a
councillor has no authority to act as an individual and must refer the matter to the Clerk.
o Written complaint – to register a written complaint please obtain & complete a copy of the
council’s complaint form (available below this paragraph)
with any other information you wish to provide to support your
complaint & then return it to the council’s address. This should be addressed to the Clerk unless
the complaint concerns the Clerk. In this instance the complaint should be sealed and addressed
to the Chairman of the council and clearly marked “Council Chairman – Private and Confidential”.
Written complaints would be for matters of a serious nature and once resolved will be recorded in
the councils minutes. However certain types of Human Resource or other sensitive issues may
under certain parts of legislation be exempt from publication. You may also send a letter, fax or
email of complaint to your council but the council may ask your to complete their complaints
form as this allows the council to keep a consistent record of communications on complaints.
Nature of a complaint
Before making a complaint it is important to contact the council to ensure the council is the
Responsible Body to handle the complaint.
It is also important to clearly identify and document the details of the complaint.
The way in which a complaint is handled is dependant on the nature of the complaint and different
types of complaint will be handled in different ways.